The 2011 Commonwealth Fund Survey of Public Views of the Health System

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Country: United States

Survey Organization: Harris Interactive

Field Dates: February 7, 2011–February 11, 2010

Sample: A nationally representative sample of adults ages 18 and older.

Sample Size: 1,011 adults; samples of this size have an overall margin of sampling error of +/– 3 percent.

Interview Method: Harris Interactive selected the sample using random-digit dialing—a technique to ensure geographic representation of households with listed and unlisted telephone numbers.


More than seven of 10 adults believe the U.S. health system needs fundamental change or complete rebuilding. Most adults surveyed reported difficulties accessing care, poor care coordination, and struggles with the costs and administrative hassles of health insurance. In addition, the survey finds substantial evidence of inefficient and wasteful delivery of health services. When looking toward the future, nearly three of four adults worry about getting high-quality care or paying medical bills. Respondents favor policies that encourage more patient-centered and integrated care, and nearly nine of 10 think it is important for private and public payers to work together to negotiate prices and improve quality. These experiences attest to the value of reforms aimed at stimulating and supporting the spread of more patient-centered, accountable care organizations. To the extent reforms succeed, patients and their families stand to gain from more accessible, safer, responsive, and less wasteful care.

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